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Quail and other birds

Hatching Hints and Advice
2004 Auburn, Indiana 4-H Poultry Barn
Hatching Hints and Advice
Incubation of Button Quail Eggs
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Chicks pip but die in shell

My first hatch was a disaster, the chicks were trapped in their shell, I lost them all.  I found out later that it was because the membrane of the egg was too dry and tough.  I had the temp. and humidity just as the instrutions called for.  My Father, a farmer from way back, told me I should be misting the eggs with warm water everytime I turned them, 3 to 5 times a day.  I had also heard that from someone else.  So that is what I did for my next hatch.  I also modified the misting plan to include misting eggs about every 2 or 3 hours when they are hatching, being careful not to mist directly into pipped holes. This keeps the humidity up and allows you to keep vent holes plugged.  Since they are getting fresh air every time you mist.  I was worried about the temp. of the water. (I have read that water that is room temp. is just fine to use) If it is too cold it could harm the chicks.  I found that it is utterly impossible to get it too hot.  I used the hottest tap water I could get.  I sprayed my hand with it and it was perfect.  Warm without burning me.  I kept the humidity at 80%.  You can get a good hydrometer at the pet store in the reptiles area, or even on ebay.   The chicks popped out like popcorn.  I was so happy.
Robin Dilley
Fort Wayne, Indiana

Here is one of the emails I have received with some very good advice:
Also, I actually found that a tub  with a modified lid
can work if you cut (or in my case I melted it out
with a soddering iron) most of the lid. I just left
maybe 3/4" to an inch of plastic and melted holes in
it and fastened nylon netting ot it by using nylon
ties. This worked pretty well since I can fasten the
lid securely as it will still naturally snap into
place. My birds still occasonally boink against the
edge rather than the net but so far they have not been
injured from it. I also built a kiddie pool aviary for
the one breeding pair I keep. I will be adding more
pairs from my current batch of chicks...I was waiting
to get some that were unrelated. One thing I figured
out (too late as I only had 21 out of 48 eggs
hatch....and 30 were fertile)is that my still
incubator could not keep the humidity up. It worked
great for the first hatch but in subsequent hatches it just did not stay up and some of the chicks died in
shell. I read online that a wet/damp sponge could be
placed in the incubator but I did not have a sponge. I
did have bounty paper towels though! I folded severl
over multuple times dampened it, put it on the wire
grid in the incubator and poured water on it until it
could not hold anymore. I started this a couple of
days before they were due to hatch so I think this is
why some still died in shell...but none of the 20 had
trouble hatching out. I did help two hatch out in
addition and one died later and the other walks in
circles so I probably will not do it again:( Anyway,
it wasn't a bad hatch since I lost power for almost 24
hours with hurricane Frances. Another idea that I
tried simply out of despiration was to throw "hot
hands" heat packs in the incubator (not touching the
eggs). It took 5 of the body size to get the incubator
back between 95-97 degrees but they were only cool (79
degrees) for about 6 hours out of the 24. That may
have contributed to the DIS babies but I was happy to
get any out of that batch of eggs:) Anyway, a few
rambling thoughts for you....

Hatching tips

Follow your incubators instructions. Pay a little extra for the turbo fan model. Still air will hatch, but I believe it is worth the extra money, especially if you want to hatch a lot of eggs.

Buy a hydrometer at the pet store in the reptiles section. They have a pack that has a thermometer and hydrometer for around $8. You can keep your humidity about 5 to 10 percent higher than they say to.

Dont trust the thermometer that comes with the incubator. Mine was off by over 5 degrees. L

To Help or not to help?

(should you help a chick out of the shell?)

I dont believe there is a right or wrong to this question.

I have helped, and it has turned out absolutely wonderful, and it has turned out absolutely awful.

You must wait or try to wait 24 hours after their first pip before you help. I have had one go for 22 hours then suddenly out they pop.

I use clean toothpick and very carefully pick the opposite direction of the chicks work. If you break the egg and you see some blood, stop, put them back in the incubator and wait a half an hour, then try again. Dont keep them out of the incubator for very long periods of time. Take your time getting them out of their shell, they may still be absorbing their yolk sac. That is why you should wait 24 hours.

After I get he top off, I like to make them kick the bottom off and they usually will.

I have rescued 1 chicken that lived (it was upside down in the egg), I tried to rescue several of its siblings, but they died, about 5. So the odds arent very good 1-6.

I rescued 2 button quail, both are fine, both had crippled feet, one came out of it and the other never did, but you cant even tell it is handicapped. But we love our little tiny tim. I also rescued a pharaoh quail, it is fine.

So use your own judgment, and be careful

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